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Apple CEO likely to inaugurate Hyderabad facility on May 19

Hyderabad: After China visit, Apple CEO Tim Cook is headed for India where he is expected to inaugurate the company’s development centre and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss manufacturing plans in the country.

Cook, who arrives in India tonight and is expected to meet Modi later this week, will also meet officials of key ministries, according to sources.

He is likely to inaugurate here on Thursday the Apple’s development centre in which the company has already invested USD 100 million.

Cook’s visit to India comes at a crucial time as the iPhone maker seeks to cash in on the “huge potential” in the world’s second largest smartphone market.

Sources said Cook is expected to discuss matters pertaining to manufacturing in India and the potential of the Indian technology market with the officials.

Apple is focussing on new growth markets like India after posting its first-ever decline in iPhone sales.

While its sales in China, its second-largest market after the US, fell 11 per cent, in India iPhone sales were up 56 per cent from a year ago.

The US-based tech giant has also sent in a proposal to the Indian government for selling refurbished phones in India. However, no official call has been made on the matter.

“Apple team is coming. But we do not know who are the members of that team which is coming on May 19 (Thursday) for the launch of their facility. We are not 100 per cent sure whether Mr Cook will be there or not. We also asked them. We are waiting for the confirmation,” Telangana IT Department Secretary Jayesh Ranjan told PTI.

He, however, did not specify the amount of investment that Apple is planning to make into the centre.

Ranjan had earlier said officials of the Cupertino-based company had already met state government officials requesting their support for some of the clearances.

“They have already identified space in a building owned by

Tishman Speyer at Nanakramguda. We are also extending support to the company in terms of obtaining necessary approvals from various departments,” he had said.

According to research firm Counterpoint, India smartphone market grew 23 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, surpassing the US to become the second largest country in terms of users.

This is despite the global sales remaining flat globally in the same time period.

Samsung led the India smartphone tally with 29 per cent share. Other top players included Micromax (17 per cent share), Intex (10 per cent), Lenovo (8 per cent), Reliance Jio’s Lyf (7 per cent) and Karbonn (5 per cent).

According to the report, Apple in India recorded a stellar 62 per cent growth in the first quarter from the year-ago period, though on a lower base.

India is a big market for Apple’s other products as well, including the iPad and iPod.